Sunday, September 28, 2008


Lately, I've been feeling a little frustrated as a parent. I have heard from several people that think the year with a 3 year-old is much harder than with a 2 year-old. I struggle with Leland's defiance. I know that she knows better with some of the things she does or says and I expect more from her, I guess. I don't want to, and I don't think I should, just lower my expectations I have for her.

Now, I'm going to list things that she has done that are very frustrating. These things don't happen constantly, but enough that it is very frustrating. She will tell other kids she doesn't want to play with them in a snotty way, if I tell her I love her she says well I don't love you, she steals toys all the time from other little kids, she seems to have no regard that she does something that hurts Lucy physically, and she doesn't tell the obvious truth.

I want her to be the sweet loving little girl all the time that I know she can be.

Here are some of my questions:
  • How do you teach a 3 year old about the difference between the truth and a lie?
  • How can I teach her to understand that she is physically hurting others?
  • How can I teach her about hurting others feelings?
  • What do I do when time outs are obviously not working?
I'm sure most of these things are learned over time, but what should I do as her mother to help her learn those things. When my girls were babies I would read everything I could about how to help them be happier babies. (My favorite was "Happiest Baby on the Block".) I guess recently I haven't read much about parenting a pre-school age child. Are there any parenting books that you love? I recently checked out "Kids are from Heaven". So far I seem to like it. It is written by the same man that wrote "Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus"

I read a few talks from the last General Conference that gave me encouragement. My favorite was Daughters of God by M. Russel Ballard. He asks 4 questions and answers them. I am just going to write about 2 of them. You can read the full talk here.

1)What can you do, as a young mother, to reduce the pressure and enjoy your family more?
  • recognize that the joy of motherhood comes in moments
  • don't over schedule yourselves or your children
  • Find time for yourself to cultivate your gifts and interests
  • pray, study, and teach the Gospel
2)What more can a husband do to support his wife, the mother of their children?
  • show extra appreciation and give more validation to what your wife does every day
  • have a regular time to talk with your wife about each child's needs and what you can do to help
  • give your wife a "day away" now and then
  • come home from work and take an active role with your family
I am trying to be more involved with Leland and Lucy while they are playing at the house instead of running to the computer to work or check emails once they are occupied for a moment. I am trying to have more one on one time with Leland to just talk and cuddle. I have done this before nap time or bed time. I am trying to point out more positive things that I see Leland do as opposed to point out only the negative behavior.

Any other ideas of what was worked for you? Or even anything you have tried? Sometimes what does not work with one child may work with another.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Random Pictures

Here are a few random pictures from this month:

I've discovered a new job for the girls that they love to do - washing windows and mirrors. Now I will work on them cleaning the bathrooms.

We had a fabulous dessert at Kenney's that our friends who work there whipped up for us. Fried biscuit with strawberry and chocolate sauce topped with whip cream. It was delicious!!

Lucy has finally mastered the slide at the park.
I love seeing my girls cuddle with each other. It's so sweet. Before leaving for preschool lately Leland will give Lucy a kiss and say "I'm going to miss you SOOO much!"

Lucy is growing up so fast. I feel like she is starting to look more like Leland. I've been pulling out 2T clothes for her to wear because she is growing so fast. It's weird to see her wearing clothes that Leland wore when she was born.

She makes a few sounds that mimic words - help me, up, uh-oh. She can sign please, more, and food.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Josh Groban

If you missed the Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, they were actually pretty entertaining. Not the actual awards, but the comedy bits by the presenters. This performance by Josh Groban was great. My favorites are Cops (at min 2.30) and Fresh Prince (at min 2.38).

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Phasing out

I am phasing out the diaper bag since Lucy is getting bigger and I only really need to carry diapers and wipes for her. So I made this little pouch to just carry 2 diapers and some wipes. Now I can just put it in my purse.

Here is the pattern I used. I adjusted it a little. I'm not very good at following written instructions very precisely. I use them more as a guide then improvise (especially with recipes). It worked out okay, I just wish the top flap that folds over was a little longer. I'm not sure if it is a flaw in the pattern or my improvising. Oh well, it still serves it's purpose.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Results

Today was Leland's VCUG at the hospital. She was such trooper. I was amazed by how strong she was acting. I was trying hard to keep the tears from flowing. [Chuck edit: And not very well.] I was very nervous for my little girl. I wanted so bad to take her place. Chuck did well at keeping her entertained with all the fun "toys" - shoe covers and rubber gloves - that he could find. The staff gave her a teddy bear to help comfort her. She was the most excited that we all got matching bracelets. Leland thought it was funny that her dad was wearing a bracelet too.

She then got to drink the "happy juice" that was going to help her relax. The nurse said it was the child version of Prozac, but would also serve an an amnesiac. Tonight, while putting Leland to bed, she revealed that her memory of the day was not gone. I told her how proud I was of her today being so brave at the hospital. She replied, "I pee-peed on the table. That was so silly!"

Leland was excited to take a ride in the bed. She was still smiles when they laid her on the x-ray table. The medicine would soon kick in.

Chuck went with her to radiology. Since they were taking live x-ray pictures, he got to wear the snazzy vest. [Chuck edit: Yes, I know it looks like we were filming a Cindi Lauper video in there.] They inserted a catheter and filled her bladder with a liquid that shows up black on the x-ray. They moved her into different positions to see if the die went from her bladder backwards up through her urinary tract. Finally, they need he to pee to watch and see if that causes things to go backwards.

She had to pee on the x-ray table with 4 people telling her to do so, staring at her and waiting for her to go. Telling a recently potty trained 3-year old, who knows she is only supposed pee in a potty, to pee on demand on a table could create some issues. Chuck says that she got pretty hysterical and was crying. She finally relaxed and peed all over the table.

Before the appointment this morning, when I was telling Leland about the pictures the Dr was going to take of the inside of her belly, she was sure that they would see rainbows.

Well we didn't see any rainbows, but we did see the dye shoot into her left kidney when she peed. She is positive for reflux. So when she urinates some of the urine spits up into her left kidney. Not good.

We are very lucky that this was found early so we can prevent any damage to her kidney this could cause. We are also grateful that only one kidney is affected. My cousin at 3 1/2 years old (he is now 21) who had reflux to both kidneys had a kidney removed because it was detected too late.

Next week, I will meet with her pediatrician for the game plan. Most of what I have read says that this is something she will probably grow out of (at what age, I'm not sure). Until then she will be on a prophylactic dose of antibiotics to prevent infections. The technician did mention to Chuck that they would probably want to do this test again in just over a year from now.

It took Leland a little while for the medicine to wear off. She was very wobbly when she would try to walk and her eyes were heavy. Luckily there was a TV in her recovery area so we got to watch a little Dora, but mostly the Ryder Cup. Poor girl was very emotional the rest of the day. Every little thing would set off a flood of tears.

It was a very emotionally draining day for all of us. We are so grateful that my Aunt was able to watch Lucy for us while we were at the hospital. I am also so grateful for the great friends who thought to bring us dinner and dessert tonight. Thanks it was very yummy.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Look like a Lady

We love going to Aunt Zebra's house. We had such a fun day with her on Monday. After hitting a large children's consignment sale, we went to lunch then back to her house to relax. She has a beautiful garden and Leland loves to help her outside. They picked some beautiful flowers.

Leland was cracking me up with her too big baseball hat. It kept falling over her eyes.

I decided to put a flower behind my ear for a picture and Leland says, "Oh mommy, now you look like a lady!" Apparently that's all it takes - a flower in your hair.

Leland also loves playing the piano, so Barbara gave her a short lesson. It was very cute.

She can now play 3 Blind Mice and Hot Cross Buns. (Are they the same? I have no idea.) She loves playing the piano and now makes up her own songs. Today she played me a song about her preschool friends. It was very cute. Our good friends let us borrow their nice Yamaha keyboard, so now Leland plays that one and Lucy sits on the floor next to her with the little toy keyboard.

How To Raise a Redneck...

Living in Southwest Virgina we live in Race country. If you don't know what that means, you really should come and visit us.

Many Sundays, Chuck likes to watch NASCAR and Leland loves every minute. My Southern Californian husband has embraced the South and all that goes along with it, including raising children that will be a little red.

Our Driver is Jimmy Johnson driving the Lowes 48. Leland and Chuck have other things to love about Lowes, but it started with Jimmy. Leland calls Jimmy the "Lowes 48 man". She can even pick him out of the pack.

She gets very excited watching the race. You can't see the picture on the TV, but she is pointing to # 48. Jimmy came in 2nd place on Sunday, but we still love him.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Why I Blog

I've been thinking a lot about why I write in my blog and whether or not it was a waste of my time. I received my answer last night while at a session of Stake Conference. The speaker quoted a talk by Henry Eyring, O Remember, Remember. Writing about just our every day activities might be fun and inspiring for our kids to read about one day. I've never really kept a journal for a significant length of time. I think this past year of our blog is the longest period of time that I've written.

I don't have anything profound to say most of the time, just our daily activities. We started our blog because we will never live close to all of the members of our family so this was a perfect way to share pictures with family far away. Now it has become the journal of our adventures. I know there are places you can get your blog printed as a book, but I like the cheaper version. Every few months I copy and paste our blog to Microsoft Word to print and put in a 3 ring binder.

So this blog is for me and my children to read later in life. I have a horrible memory and my 3 year old has an amazing memory, so maybe it's just for me. I write here on my computer instead of a notebook, because it's fun to share our fun times with others.

My thought for the day: I spent 2 hours at Church today and could not tell you one thing that was talked about. I spent the 2 hours chasing my girls, trying to keep them quiet, changing diapers or taking them potty, and keeping them entertained. Luckily I went to the Saturday evening session (by myself while Chuck stayed with the girls) where a member of the Stake Presidency said "sometimes just in the doing will bring blessings." So hopefully just the process of going to Church, making that effort, and teaching by example the importance of going to church every Sunday we will receive blessings. A lot Sundays I feel like I spend most of time wandering the halls with a 1 year old wondering why I am even there. Well I know that our family and especially my children will be blessed because Chuck and I at least make the effort to be there.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ducks & Glass

Earlier in the week we went to Gypsy Hill Park. It has a huge duck pond and great playground for younger kids. They also have a kids train that only runs on the weekend, so we will have to go back on a Saturday.

The girls and I had such a fun time. Both of them LOVED feeding the ducks. I was surprised that Lucy got into it so much. Almost all of my pictures are just the back of their heads. They could not keep their eyes off the ducks (I wouldn't turn my back on them either - ducks/birds always seem like they might attack at any moment).

Our treat of choice for the ducks was Rice Krispy cereal. For every handful for the ducks, Lucy took a handful for herself. Once our cereal was gone we went to a cute park perfect for their age before heading to lunch.

We met my Aunt Barbara downtown for lunch at Depot Grille next to the Staunton train station. After a yummy lunch we headed to Sunspot Studios to watch glass blowing. It is amazing to watch the glass creations made. We watched a man make a lamp shade. As he was finishing the final touches the glass fell off his pole. I could not believe that it didn't break when hitting the cement floor, but in the minutes that it took him to prep a new pole to work with (the tip has to be heated) the vase that we had watched him create over the last half hour started to shatter. The cool temperature of the cement floor cools that side of the glass faster than the side in the air. The uneven cooling shattered the artwork into pieces. It is a really fun thing to watch if you ever get the opportunity.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Never Forget (Part II)

In the late summer of 2001, I loaded all of my belongings into my truck, left Stanford University, and drove across the country to pursue my dream of working in Washington, DC. I began work at a new, non-profit organization on Capitol Hill on September 4.

On September 11, 2001 I woke up and prepared to go to work at our office three blocks from the U.S. Capitol. For some reason, that day I was going into work later than usual. I was living at the home of Jim and Betty Jo Croft in McClean, Virginia. I was house sitting while they were away.

After preparing a bowl of cereal for breakfast, I turned on the television to watch the morning news just around 9 AM. I watched as the commentators described that a single plane had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City. At that time it was unclear whether it was an accident or deliberate, but I remember the commentators discussing both. I called my family and told them to turn on the television.

I was horrified as I watched the second plane hit live on television. I have never felt so alone sitting in that house that day. I cried, I prayed, I watched. Within a half an hour, a plane had hit the Pentagon, and I knew America would be changed forever.

Later, I called my cousin who lived in an apartment with a view of the Pentagon and went to visit her. She was very emotional because she and her roommates had heard the plane fly over their building before they saw the fireball exploding from the Pentagon. I spent time with her and our friends as we discussed our feelings. A few days later, we went to the memorial site at the Pentagon where people were placing flowers and pictures. It was morose, but moving.

For the next few months, I drove past the giant flag on the side of the Pentagon a few times each week. Washington, DC was an awesome place to be that year. People pulled together in unimaginable ways. The anthrax attacks later that fall only strengthened the bonds of people in that city.

September 11, 2001 was frightening and humbling, but our country's resolve and brotherhood in the following months was incredibly inspiring.

Never Forget

Today is one of those days that you will always think back to what you were doing in 2001. It brings tears to my eyes just to remember how I felt that day. Today is like to other generations the day The Challenger exploded while so many watched (I was watching at school), or the day JFK was assassinated, or the day Pearl Harbor was bombed. You can't help but remember and you will never forget. Only a few that read this blog I knew in 2001. So here's what I was doing:

Sept 11, 2001 was the day movers were coming to my house in Provo to pack all of my belongings into a truck to move across country to Baltimore, MD. I had spent the night at a friends house in Salt Lake the night before. They had already left for work when I was getting ready to leave and I turned on the TV. I remember sitting on the edge of bed watching in utter disbelief what had happened in NYC a few hours earlier. I left the house to drive the hour in my car listening on the radio to all the speculations and tragedy that was occurring.

When I arrived at my house I plugged in the TV that was on the floor because the entertainment center would soon be on a truck. I sat their on the floor still in awe. The movers arrived, two young guys, only one spoke English, but with a thick Middle Eastern accent. They did not know what had happened earlier that morning. I explained to them what happened. The 3 of us just stood there and watched the TV, while the movers spoke to each other in a language I did not understand. Then one asked "Who did it?" I had no idea how to respond, there were only gross speculations at that point.

My cross country move was delayed due to my roommate Kristen, who was moving with me to Baltimore, being in Seattle. Since all flights were grounded for a few days, she could not fly back to UT. I spent the next few days like many others glued to the TV watching the only thing that was on TV for days. Then Kristen and I ventured on our cross country trip to start our post-college life.

I was not personally affected by the massive loss in life that occurred that day, but I still mourn for those that died. I am grateful for the country that I live in and the freedoms that we have. I am truly grateful for those that maintain our freedoms and their families that sacrifice so that they may do so. Thank You.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Since Leland has had multiple Urinary Tract Infections and had some tests show signs of Kidney Infection we decided to schedule a voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG).

Next Friday (19th) she will be slightly sedated, have a catheter, while the doctor watches a dye travel through her bladder and empty. They make sure that the bladder will completely empty and not spit dye (or urine) back into the kidneys (Vesicoureteral reflux).

I know that if there is a problem we are catching it early. There is a possibility it is something she will just out grow or can control with small doses of antibiotics.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Routine Fun

I like the routine that the school year brings. We have something planned almost every day. Sadly, we are back to a Doctors visit almost every week. Hopefully that will end soon.

Lucy misses her sister when she goes to Preschool. She likes to wear her backpack around when Leland has left the house wearing hers. I recently cut Lucy's wispy hair. If you look closely at the picture of her on the track, you can see her "wings" that I shortened by about 2 inches. I love her little curls in the back. Curls are such a new thing for me.

We spent an afternoon at Boxerwood Gardens last week. I seriously love that place. Lucy is just the right size for the tunnel. It's so much easier there now that she walks all the time. Leland was showing me how strong she was. That stick she is holding up was 20 feet long, she was so proud of herself.

On Saturday evening, we went to a BBQ with people from church. It was so much fun. They had an awesome back yard with a swing, hammock chair, pool (although we did not swim), and a garden. Chuck picked a cup full of raspberries, while I ate them all. They were so delicious. It's been a long time since I picked raspberries.

Their home backs up to the Golf Course. Chuck realized that he has hit a few golf balls into their back yard. He found a few in their garden that he took to replace the ones he lost.

The family brought out the rockets that they like to launch for their grand kids. Leland enjoyed being the one to press THE BUTTON.

I captured the best picture on the first launch:
3....2....1....BLAST OFF!!!!
After a few launches, a rocket got caught in a tree. It took quite a while to get the rocket from the tree. One guy even climbed up the tree about 30 feet to shake the branches.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

First Day

Leland had her first day of Preschool this week. She has been so excited for weeks. I knew she would have a great time and would love every minute. She is like a sponge and loves learning new things and making new friends. We all went to drop her off. Leland decided that she wanted just Daddy to take her inside. I sat in the car with Lucy and was totally fine and not emotional at all.

Chuck walked her in she hung up her bag and went right in to play. He came back to the car and I asked "How did she do? Are you okay?" He started to cry and said "Our little girl is growing up too fast." What a sweet dad I have as a husband. Then I lost it and started to cry to. I want to say that I hope it gets easier, but according to my sister it doesn't.

Luckily I had planned a playgroup for kids around Lucy's age to come over while Leland was at school. My house felt very quiet and empty until they all arrived. It was fun for Lucy to play with kids around her own age. The time flew by quickly.

Part of the first day report:

Me: Did you go potty at Preschool?
LJ: Yes. I went pee pee. I didn't wipe, but I washed my hands with soap. I couldn't get my pants on so I yelled Ms J. I need your help! Then she helped me.


Labor Day Festival

On Monday I went to a Labor Day Festival in BV with a friend and her 2 kids. We went late in the day to enjoy some of the small town festivities. We made it there just in time to watch a few performances from The Rebels of Rhythm Cloggers. Leland sat down in front with all the little girls in awe watching them stomp and dance.

The last song they invited anyone who wanted to join them to come to the front. Leland drug her friend by the hand to go dance. Once the cloggers started, the girls both just stood there as still as could be. Finally, they started to stomp their feet, then it took everything I had in me to go up there with them to get them to dance. Chuck didn't believe me when I told him that I had. Sadly there is no video of me "clogging", I'm sure it was a pretty hilarious sight. But here's the girls.
After the dancing we headed to the playground area and just let the kids play. Lucy loves climbing up the slide. Leland on the other hand loved to just lay on the blanket. Her and her friend were watching the clouds talking about what animal shapes they saw in the clouds in the sky.

I had to include this picture of Leland becuseI love how blue her eyes look. Something about the blue in her shirt and the blue blanket make them stand out. This is her usual form as well - thumb in mouth and finger up the nose. I really want her to grow out of that soon, she looks so ridiculous.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

4 Generations

4 generations
It was nice to have my family stop by our house on the way out of town after a fun weekend. I have wanted to take a 4 generations picture for some time and am so glad that we were able to do so.

To the right is a picture of the 4 generations with my mother as the baby. I tried to take a digital picture of the pictures my grandmother brought with her. Some turned out clearer than others, this one is a little blurry. We put together a slide show of pictures for my mother. It was really fun to see them all. My aunts gave her a digital picture frame so she can watch the slide show all the time.

I call my grandmother "Mommom" for obvious reasons - she is my mom's mom. Growing up, I called my great-grandmother "Grandma", so that name was taken. When my girls and I went to pick Mommom up from the airport last week, I was explaining to Leland who she was and how we were all related.

Leland calls my mother "Nana". After the explanation of "Mommom", Leland said, "Well then I will call her Nana-Mom." It was so cute how her little mind figured that out. Mommom loved it.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Ladies Weekend

Last Friday was my mom's 60th Birthday! We had a ladies weekend in Charlottesville to celebrate. All the women in my family came from along the East coast to VA to celebrate: my grandmother (FL), Aunt Joan (NY), Aunt Barbara (VA), my mom (NC), cousin Cody (PA), Suzanne (NC), Christine (MD) and myself were all there. Even though it was a short visit we had so much fun. We walked around the shops at the downtown mall in Charlottesville, had lunch at Hamiltons, Gelato at Splendora's (a must if you are ever close by!), then back to my aunt Barbara's house for dinner and birthday fun.

Our evening was Hawaiian themed so we had hawaiian pizza, pina coladas, and wore leis. Somehow shower caps were thrown in there too. We had so much fun dancing, laughing, and playing Bunko. (below left: my mom with her 2 sisters and mother, right: my 2 sisters and I)

I don't get to see my grandmother that often and she is a riot! She is 79 years old going on 21. I love her. She was doing the Electric Slide, cheating at Bunko, and flaunting the flower bra and leopard shower cap like crazy. When I asked her what her favorite show was she said America's Next Top Model. Seriously!?!?

(Left) My cousin Cody- I think this should be her new Facebook profile picture. My mom (to the right) the birthday girl.

Thanks for getting us all together. It was so much just being together even if only for a short time. I hope you had a wonderful birthday. I am so grateful for my mother and all the things I have learned from her. She is a giving person and service comes very natural to her. I love you mom! Happy birthday!